All the Thanksgiving meals


November was definitely a month for eating too much food. I have a lot more difficulty eating moderately around Thanksgiving than Christmas, because Thanksgiving food is real food, not junk. Well, except for the pie and cake, but it’s still not an endless supply of cookies and candy like Christmas food is.

The first Thanksgiving meal was about a week before the actual holiday, at work. We do a big potluck for all the people on my floor. Okay, not all, but a lot of people participate. Of course, these meals generally have a lot of meat, and I don’t even want to think about the dairy involved, but there is generally enough food available for me to eat far too much anyway. This year I brought my favorite stuffing, made with veggie sausage:

Sausage Apple Stuffing

~6 cups bread crumbs (I use whole wheat bread, cut into cubes and toasted a bit in the oven)
1 pkg. Lightlife Gimme Lean sausage
1 apple, diced
1 onion, diced
¼ cup raisins
1 TBSP poultry seasoning
½ cup chopped walnuts
1 ¼ cup apple juice (or, in my case, 2 6.75 ounce juice boxes, because that’s what I had on hand)

Gimme Lean sausage is very low fat, so I find it difficult to just crumble it in the skillet and cook it like normal sausage. So, I spray some cooking spray in the skillet, slice the sausage, fry until done, and then chop it into small pieces. Remove to a large bowl. Saute the apple, onion and raisins (the original recipe called for celery, too, but you will never find that stringy vegetable in any of my recipes!) with a little more cooking spray, then add to the bowl with the sausage. Mix in the poultry seasoning and walnuts, then stir in the breadcrumbs. Finally, pour the juice over the top and mix one more time.

Don’t do like I do every time, and put it straight into an unprepared baking dish. This stuffing is too good to be missing all the stuff that sticks to the dish. Spray the pan down well, then throw in the stuffing and bake at whatever temperature all your other dishes are cooking, generally 350. I bake it until it smells great in my kitchen and looks done, which is not a scientific measurement. I know it when I see it, but I can’t tell you how. I think it is about 30-40 minutes, though.

I am also lucky in this sort of potluck in that we have a fair contingent of Indians on my floor, so I am not the only vegetarian. This year, though, there weren’t any good veggie curries. Still, I had a good salad, lots of my stuffing, veggies, cranberry sauce, fruit, pumpkin pie, cherry cobbler and peppermint patties. I am sure the pie was not dairy-free, but overall, it was a fairly successful meal.

On Thanksgiving day, we went to my parents’ house. I didn’t cook as much as I intended to make originally, because I knew that most of the stuff I was making would not be appreciated by my family, and I would be having friends over the following weekend that would appreciate it all. I did make a pecan pie, cranberry sauce, mashed candied sweet potatoes, nutmeg mushrooms, steamed green beans and this great dill dip:

Dill Dip in a Round Rye bread
1 cup Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream
2/3 cup Nayonnaise
1 tsp dill seeds
1 tsp English Prime Rib seasoning (the original recipe calls for Beau Monde, but Penzey’s doesn’t carry that—I am only a little freaked out at all these “meat seasonings” I am using; first poultry seasoning and now this ;-))
1 TBSP dried onion flakes
1 TBSP dried parsley
1 large round loaf of rye bread

Mix the first 6 ingredients well. Cut a bowl into the top of the rye loaf, tearing up the cut out bread for dipping. Place the dip in the bowl and eat with the rye bread chunks, tearing up the bowl when the chunks are gone.

This is insanely good. My family devoured this in about 20 minutes, just me, my mom, my dad and my brother. The kids did eat a little of the bread, but they aren’t much for dip.

I still have one more meal to describe, but that will have to wait for another time. It was delicious, though! And, of the 5 people I had over, 3 of them were actually vegetarians, so I wasn’t outnumbered in my non-meat-eating ways for a change. Not that I mind cooking for anyone, it was just a nice change.

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